October 31, 2007 Edition

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Monsters and manners

Linda Lou Moore
Guest Writer

Monsters and Manners can peacefully coexist during Halloween. The Times Dispatch provides information concerning numerous activities during this time of year. Whether it's walking from house to house, a fall festival, a holiday carnival or a costume party; when saying "trick or treat" the accompanying words "please" and "thank you" can work wonders, as ghosts and goblins are filling their sacks with Halloween goodies.

With the emphasis on "Boo" not "Boo Hoo," here are some quick tips to make sure the evening is safe and fun:

Do's for trick or treaters

  • Do say "Trick or Treat" or "Happy Halloween."

  • Do say "thank you" when someone gives you candy or a treat.

  • Do wear flame resistant costumes.

  • Do wear light reflective clothes.

  • Do take along a flashlight or a glow stick.

  • Do wear reflective tape on costumes to increase visibility.

  • Do travel with friends.

  • Do look both ways before crossing the street.

Do's for parents

  • Do review basic safety rules before going out to trick or treat.

  • Do have an adult accompany small children.

  • Do know where your children are going and with whom.

  • Do remind your children to bring home candy and other treats for your inspection.

  • Do provide adequate lighting for trick or treaters.

  • Do keep the porch or your designated area safe, so that visiting trick or treaters don't get hurt.

Boo hoo!
Don'ts for trick or treaters

  • Don't forget to use the words "please" and "thank you."

  • Don't grab candy.

  • Don't whine if you get something you don't like.

  • Don't go to unfamiliar places, unaccompanied.

  • Don't wear masks that obstruct your vision.

  • Don't wear ill-fitting clothes that can cause you to trip or fall.

  • Don't go to a house that does not have on the porch light.

  • Don't run through flower beds or other carefully tended areas.

  • Don't touch decorations, when visiting houses, unless you have permission.

  • Don't litter the yard with candy wrappers.

  • Don't forget about your pets. Dogs and cats can scare easily.

  • During the Halloween festivities keep your pets away from strangers, loud noises and flashing lights. And, of course, don't let them eat chocolate or your other treats.

"Double, double, toil and trouble"

With all the excitement that Halloween brings there are more dangerous things than the curse from the three witches in Macbeth. According to Gina Hill of CNN, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported that the rate of children hit and killed by cars is approximately four times higher on Halloween night.

The CDC also reported candy was the culprit for approximately 19 percent of all chocking related visits to the emergency room for children under 14 years of age. This happens all year round, but must be kept in mind during Halloween if children stuff themselves with treats after a good night of collecting their hauls. The American Academy of Pediatrics informs parents to throw away spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious treats.

Since many parents voice safety concerns, costume parties have often replaced door-to-door trick or treating. Halloween costume parties are not only for children, but adults as well. Children's costumes are traditionally witches, ghosts, princesses, pirates, current cartoon characters or action heroes. Adults also favor traditional costumes along with dressing up as political figures, movie stars, famous or infamous characters or as popular sayings.

Halloween is the second biggest shopping holiday for retailers, generating more than six billion dollars in sales. According to a survey by the International Mass Retail Association, approximately 82 percent of all Americans purchase games, decorations, candy and costumes for Halloween.

Quote of the day: " When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween." Author Unknown.

Linda Lou Moore is trained and certified by the Protocol School of Washington in Washington, D.C. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children and teens and business etiquette programs for adults. She may be reached at Post Office Box 145, Paragould, 72451 or a manners@paragould.net.

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